Meet the retired K9 heroes!
K9 Oscar retired from the Secret Service on November 1, 2015 at age 10, after 8 years of explosives detection service including Presidential Detail and Special Events. The government, “having determined that the cost of its care and handling is so great…” transferred ownership of Oscar to his handler, Officer Santiago Rivera. Officer Rivera voluntarily took on the financial responsibility of Oscar’s care for the remainder of his life so that his K9 partner could spend his retirement with the family who loved him.
In August 2017, Oscar was taken to the vet because he was not eating well and had a swollen abdomen. An exam and x-rays revealed that Oscar had a very large mass in his abdomen, which an ultrasound showed to be attached to his spleen. Most splenic masses in older dogs are hemangiosarcomas, which are very aggressive cancers that have an extremely poor prognosis, even with surgical removal and chemotherapy (4-6 months life expectancy). Oscar’s mass was extremely large, about the size of a basketball, which meant that rupture of the mass and sudden death could occur. Surgical removal, while possible, would be very complicated and risky. It would also be very expensive, about $5,000-$6,000. Many owners, in this situation, would elect for humane euthanasia given the substantial risk and cost of surgery with a likely poor prognosis.
Thanks to Paws of Honor, Officer Rivera and his family did not have to weigh the cost of surgery in their decision. After a thorough discussion with Dr. Felton, of Old Dominion Animal Health Center, regarding the surgery, recovery process, and possible complications and risks involved, the Riveras elected to pursue surgical removal of the mass.
Oscar went in for surgery on August 23, 2017 with hugs from the worried Rivera family. After a difficult and tense two-hour long surgery, a 15.5 lb. mass was removed from his abdomen. Oscar weighed 79 lbs. when he came in for surgery and 63.5 lbs. afterwards. The tumor was 20% of his body weight! While his prognosis remained guarded through recovery and the pending pathology results, Oscar held his own and was able to go home two days later.
On August 26, 2017 the pathology results came in: splenic hematoma!! The enormous growth was a benign tumor that is cured by removal and has an extremely favorable prognosis! Even though the odds were stacked against it, Oscar’s story had a happy ending. We, at Paws of Honor, are so pleased and thankful to have had a part in Oscar’s care. Oscar is still doing well at home and will always have a special place in our hearts!
Capa was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for meritorious service while serving as an explosive/patrol working dog, security detachment, fleet activities, Yokosuka from March 2008 to April 2016. Demonstrating exceptional dedication, Capa completed 1,500 combined hours of explosive detection training and trials, over 5,000 hours of detection utilization and 5,000 hours of patrol utilization greatly increasing the security posture. His efforts were essential in providing safety and security for 12 forward deployed ships and 26,000 personnel. MWD Capa deployed to Adder, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was tasked to provide security for four POTUS missions, one FLOTUS mission, and one Secretary of Defense mission. Additionally, he was utilized in over 50 demonstrations increasing overall command awareness of the capabilities of military working dogs. Capa’s superior performance during this tour is the hallmark of a career devoted to accomplishing broad and diverse tasks and highlights the culmination of nine years of honorable and dedicated naval service.
MWD (Retired) Bak is a 10 year old German Shepherd who was purchased in 2006 by the 341st Security Forces Squadron for the Joint Services Military Working Dog Program. He was certified as a Patrol Drug Detector Dog in September 2007 and was assigned to Fort Benning, GA. During this time MWD Bak had several handlers and primarily was utilized to provide law enforcement support for the Fort Benning community of over 165,000 residents. MWD Bak and SSG Adams were paired together in mid 2012 and worked together until his retirement in March 2016. Throughout his tenure he supported over 650 missions ranging from contraband detection in Soldiers barracks to providing security to warrants served and tracking fugitives.
During the last year of his career Bak started to show multiple issues with his hind quarters. Searching high, negotiating obstacles and simple tasks such as getting in and out of a patrol vehicle became difficult for Bak to do. Upon evaluation by the Fort Benning Veterinarian he was recommended to be medically retired. Bak retired but will remain on multiple medications to assist with arthritis, a degenerative disk in his spine and chronic skin/coat issues.
SSG Adams and Bak moved to the Washington D.C. area in September 2016. Bak was enrolled in the Paws of Honor program with Old Dominion Animal Health Center in October 2016 which has covered his medications and procedures to date. On 2 December 2016 Bak began to act very lethargic after a fall and was scheduled for a checkup the following day. During this, multiple tests were ran that indicated he had internal bleeding that would require emergency surgery. Bak was immediately rushed into surgery where the bleeding was stopped and found to be because of a ruptured spleen.
Pathology results indicated Bak has hemangiosarcoma and expected life expectancy would be 2-3 months without chemotherapy. Paws of Honor had covered all expenses, however, due to a lack of oncologists in Old Dominion Animal Health Center they were unable to coordinate this care. Bak is currently undergoing chemo with Red Bank Animal Hospital in Tinton Falls, NJ through the War Dog Association.
Retired K9 Officer Gina is an explosive detection dog. She worked for the United States Secret Service from 2008 until 2017. Gina has traveled to 18 countries and countless states and cities in support of both the Obama and Trump Presidential administrations. In April of 2017, Gina was retired from service to her agency and to her country. She is her handler’s best friend and hero!
Freida retired in 2013 and joined Paws of Honor in 2016.
Kubo served as a tactical canine for the US Secret Service from 2008 to 2016. He helped in providing a tactical response to potential threats at the White House, Camp David and many other protective venues both foreign and domestic.
Nip joined Paws of Honor in February 2016.
Retired K9 Harris joined Paws of Honor March 2016. This is Harris getting ready to enjoy a marinated and grilled steak made by his handler for him for his retirement. Harris is a black lab that came from puppies behind bars. Harris and I were teamed up together in front Royal Virginia at that ATF canine training center. Harris and I went through a 10 week course and became best buddies. Upon our graduation we began working and started traveling as a explosive detection team. Harris has traveled overseas to the war zone 22 times and has been with me every day of his life. Harris has currently been retired for two years and enjoys eating Hawaii bread rolls and taking long naps. Though Harris is retired he enjoys being a big brother to his now little sister and my current partner K9 Jane.
I brought Senna home September 10, 2013. She was certified as an explosive detection canine and we graduated training on November 30, 2013. On a daily basis we swept vehicles at the access points for different secure locations. We also patrolled and performed security sweeps as needed in the District of Columbia and other parts of the country. On a training day I noticed that she had a slight limp on her left front leg. We started doing different types of therapy to help relieve the pain in her leg, although we could not figure out what had happened, or what was causing the pain. She continued to work on and off as she could until the end of August 2015. Since we were still unaware of the source of the pain, we had to retire her from work. She had worked for less than two years. In October, we had to make the tough decision to amputate the leg as the only way to relieve her of her pain. After her surgery and further testing her diagnosis was a rare sarcoma tumor in her shoulder joint. The amputation surgery was the turning point, she is
now a cancer-free, pain-free puppy. She runs around the backyard and goes on short walks. She is happy and healthy!
Maggie was born on 4/28/13. During her first year she was raised in a program called Puppies behind Bars which raises the puppies to become explosive detection canines. When Maggie was 14 months old, she was picked up by the ATF and enrolled in their program. 16 weeks later she graduated their program and was assigned to a Police K9 handler within the Federal Government.
After working for less then two years, Maggie had a seizure. There was no known cause for the seizure but due to the nature of her job, Maggie was retired from federal service. She now lives with her handler and is enjoying retirement.
Boris served his country for over 8 years by working as an Explosives Detection Canine for the US Government both domestically and overseas. He retired in November 2014 and now gets to stay home, relax, and watch over his human baby brother.
Buddy is trained in explosives detection. Buddy started his career with Puppies Behind Bars Program. This program trains service dogs, explosives dogs, and assistance dogs for wounded military personnel. He started his explosives detection training in May of 2011 and was assigned to DFC David Orr of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Buddy retired and joined Paws of Honor in May 2016.
Moris is my retired Tactical Explosive Detection Dog (TEDD). I was handed his leash in July 2012 and under went 9 weeks of fast paced handler training. We were certified as a TEDD team on 21 September 2012. Altogether, we served 2 years as a TEDD team in Hawaii and a 9-month Deployment. Before I got to serve with him he had been deployed in service to our Country. Due to the Army’s draw down in 2014 the TEDD program was canceled while we were deployed. Because of the length of time we were together I was offered the chance to adopt him and retire him. He now gets to lounge around and enjoy his toys, couches, and all the “loving” he can handle.
Ogden was born 11/2015 and started in the seeing eye dog program. He failed out of the seeing eye dog program when he growled playing tug with people, even though that’s something he always does when he plays. Ogden was then sent to the ATF to be trained as an Explosives Detection K9. Ogden became my partner early in 2007 and worked until 2014. During his working career he spent time overseas and working day to day in the DC area. Now that hes retired, he spends his days napping and going to work with my uncle where he helps him sell tractors and lawnmowers. A huge thanks to Paws of Honor of giving back to these working dogs who have served their country.
Cody started off as a hunt dog in Canada then was purchased by ATF in 2009 from a breeder in Florida. Originally, he was trained as part of the Suicide Bomber Initiative and switched over to Explosives Detection through ATF. He was assigned to his handler in 2012 for a federal agency within the DOD. He completed extensive training, events, inauguration, demonstrations and assignments in the Washington DC area. In 2014, Cody’s handler received a new position as their family expanded and he was retired. Retirement was quite an adjustment, but we try keeping him active outdoors: playing ball, hiking, swimming, and he loves the snow!
Baxter was born in September of 2007 and served his country until 2011. He is a BATF trained Explosive Detection K9. He has done a lot in his career from traveling the world protecting U.S. Interests, traveling with and protecting Government VIP’s, working sporting events and interacting with children and adults educating them on working dogs.
Today Baxter lives with his handler and family. He loves to swim whenever he can. He also loves to play fetch and going on walks. He enjoys his retirement by relaxing on the couch, the bed and where ever feels like laying.
K9 Remi was born in Europe on February 14, 2010. He was purchased by Castle’s K9 and shipped from Slovakia to the United States on February 8, 2011. On February 11, 2011 the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office purchased Remi and he was partnered with Master Deputy Perry Bailey. The K9 Team was assigned to the Operations Support Division, where Remi worked as a dual purpose patrol K9 and SWAT K9 until he was retired from duty. During his years of service Remi and Deputy Bailey were certified as a K9 Team through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) in the areas of Criminal Apprehension and Narcotics Detection. Remi was very active on the street and was credited with apprehending numerous criminal suspects, assisting with the seizure of narcotics and the arrest of these suspects on a routine basis. On October 7, 2015 due to a torn bicep tendon, Remi underwent surgery and had a partial bicep release on his left shoulder. After four months of daily therapy and rehabilitation Remi returned to full duty in February of 2016. Remi remained active working the street until September 20, 2016 when he suffered a career ending injury during a K9 maintenance training day. An MRI showed that Remi had two ruptured discs in his spine. Remi underwent surgery for these injuries on October 6, 2016 and was officially retired from duty on October 20, 2016. Remi has now started his therapy treatment and rehabilitation as he adjusts to his retirement life at home with Perry, his wife Brandi and their two baby girls Gracelyn and Hopelyn.
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at people in a bank vestibule after he and Vice President Joe Biden (not pictured) bought lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House in Washington, October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ciela’s a sweet near 13 year old Malinois. She’s a retired secret service working dog. She began her training back in 2006 to be an explosive detection dog and she excelled at it from day 1. Her handler had the chance to work with her until 2014 when she retired. She’s worked all over the united states as well as many visits overseas. She’s slowed down quite a bit since her working days but she still acts like a pup at heart. She was an amazing detection dog and an even better partner.
K9 Ringo was born in 2003 served the US Government until 2009. He was trained and certified in explosives detection and patrol dog duties. He now lives at home with his handler’s family and spends his days monitoring neighborhood cats and stealing food from inattentive family members.